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The Role of a Police Report in a DUI Case

Posted by Christopher Martens | May 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

When arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer will fill out and file a police report, also sometimes called an incident or crime report, to document the arrest and the crime. This is both for administrative purposes as well as to catalog the basic and immediate facts of the case for further review by the court system. The report is given to the prosecutor and the criminal court before being sent to the DMV. You will not be given a copy of the police report at the time of, or immediately after, arrest but may be provided with the police report or case number, which will later allow you to request a copy of the report for your records. This is a very important document when facing any criminal charges, DUIs included. If you are unclear on why you were pulled over and arrested or what you are being charged with, the police report will have the basic facts of the arrest. This is the same document that the prosecutor and eventually a judge will review when considering your sentencing so it is a good idea to obtain a copy as soon as possible and read over it thoroughly. If you were arrested for a DUI, you will be given a copy of the report on your hearing date. The report will have some basic identifying information: the date and time of the incident, the location, the arresting officer's name and ID number and your name, date of birth and driver's license number. It will also carefully document the incident from the time the cop pulled you over. It will note the reason or cause on which the officer pulled you over, a note about your driving (e.g. too fast, too slow), and any other facts such as the speed at which you were driving. It will also include notes on your general appearance and conduct, to include observations on your skin tone, articulation, tone of voice, coordination, motor skills, whether your eyes were blood shot or watery and any other observations that may be used as evidence you committed the crime. If you provide the officer with any information in response to a question, like telling them how many drinks you have had, that will be noted as well. It will also note the results of any tests you took in the field. This includes the Standardize Field Sobriety Test, or SFST, and your BAC test either done through a breath sample or a blood sample. If it was a breath sample, the serial number of the breathalyzer you blew in to should be noted as well. All the basic pieces of evidence that could convict you of your given offense are in the police report. In this respect, the police report is the single most important part of your case. It is what is used to convict you but is also what, when questioned and invalidated, can acquit you. Make sure you understand all of what is in there and evaluate it thoroughly for accuracy. If it is your word against the officer's, make sure you are aware of what is being said about your case. If you notice any inconsistencies from the officer's report against your own experience and what you remember, you might want to contact an attorney. Police reports are filled out at the discretion of the officer using his or her subjective observations. There is a possibility there will be discrepancy between what they said happened and what you know happened. Don't let this fall by the way side. These should be questioned. If you are not sure what is in your police report or find any inaccuracies, consult an experienced DUI defense attorney right away to ensure you are tried and judged based off of accurate facts. Certain facts like whether or not your eyes were bloodshot or whether or not your coordination was poor cannot be invalidated in court without evidence, so questioning these and being argumentative about them may just be used against you. Other facts, like the accuracy of the BAC test, can be questioned in court and may be enough to overturn the case.

Have you been arrested for a DUI and have questions about your police report? Contact Tulare area attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Experienced in DUI defense in Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties, our team will compassionately listen to your story and make sure you receive the best defense in your case while keeping you informed of the legal process. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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